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Minnesota Power asks PUC for rate increase

Minnesota Power has asked the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to approve an $81 million net increase in retail electric rates.
If the request is approved, Minnesota Power estimates that an average residential customer would see an increase of $13 on a monthly bill. The new rate request also includes shifting $14 million in line items currently reflected on customers’ bills into base rates, which would result in no net increase or decrease on customer bills.
Minnesota Power has requested that interim rates be implemented in early 2010.
The new rates will help pay for a series of upgrades at the company’s four Boswell Energy Center generating units in Cohasset that it says will directly benefit the environment. A three-year project at the facility’s second-largest unit is scheduled to be completed this month and is expected to reduce emissions by 80 to 90 percent.
The acquisition of a large transmission line between North Dakota and Minnesota also is part of the request. That acquisition is pending state and federal regulatory approval.
The existing 465-mile line will be used to deliver wind energy to customers in Minnesota. Site development for the project is underway near New Salem, N.D.

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